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David and Goliath at Dartmouth



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Over the weekend, as you may recall, I linked to a YouTube video that mounted an amusing but devastating attack on the new, undemocratic alumni constitution on which Dartmouth men and women are now being asked to vote. (The voting period runs until the end of this month.)

Those who favor the proposed document—that is, those who wish to entrench the College establishment, protecting the status quo from the challenges it would have to face if alumni were permitted genuine democracy—had already spent many tens of thousands of dollars on a professionally managed campaign: slick mass mailings, pre-recorded telephone messages, even a telephone “push-poll” to thousands of Dartmouth alumni. The YouTube video? The work of David against Goliath.

Now Goliath has struck back, forcing YouTube to take the video down. On what ground? Apparently that in one frame, for a total of perhaps four seconds, the video used the word “vox,” which is part of the Dartmouth motto, Vox Clamantis in Deserto (“the voice of one crying in the wilderness”). If a weaker claim for a copyright violation ever existed, I am unaware of it.

But the undergraduate playing David, I am happy to say, remains David, which is to say, nimble enough to recover in an instant every time Goliath stupidly swings his giant club. Minus the word “vox,” the YouTube video is back.



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